Probate question, lawsuit pending

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Latest post 10-26-2012 12:12 PM by ca19lawyer2. 7 replies.
  • 10-25-2012 6:03 PM

    • Zerodays
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    Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Thanks in advance for any help.  I'm writing this for my elderly mother who is being sued over her late sister's estate.  Hoping I can get some preliminary information to give her some comfort before she has to find a lawyer.

    Brief summary, sister passes away mid 2011. She had a former romantic partner, turned roommate, turned parasite living in her home for several years.  Everything was in her name (house, bank accounts, both his and her car).  He was sporadically employed, and based on our understanding never bought a darn thing short of beer and cigarettes.  Everything was left to my mother.  After some difficulty, we convinced him to move out of the house for a sigificant amount of money and the title to "his" car, paid off.  He accepted, and the house was sold ealier this year.

    I don't know exactly what agreement he signed... whether it was just an agreement to move, or an agreement to quit any other claims.  (probably the former).  But this week my mother received paperwork (not sure if it is a summons or not) seeking approximately half of the house sale proceeds, claimings (falsely mind you) that the parasite contributed to the upkeep of the home for X number of years and requires compensation... blah blah blah.

    I can't imagine he has any case, and with all funds in the estate essentially dispersed, I'm not sure what or who he could sue that could give him any money.  While we are resigned to the fact that this "thing" is going to continue to make us miserable for a while longer, is there anything realistically he can collect.

     

  • 10-25-2012 6:14 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    I would say no. If the estate was properly probated at the time, then I would think that it is too late for him to "raise such a claim".

    However, your mother is going to need to defend the lawsuit. She just cannot ignore it. Moreover, it might be more cost effective to settle the law suit than rather than watch the meter for attorney fees run up defending it. He and his attorney probably know that.

    In other words, regardless of anyone's feelings, she might want to settle this matter rather than see it go to court.

    She should consult a local probate attorney with litigation experience. If probate is closed, it might be relatively easy to get this dismissed. If it has not because there are other loose ends to the estate still hanging out there, then it may be a little harder.

  • 10-25-2012 6:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Zerodays:
    But this week my mother received paperwork (not sure if it is a summons or not)

    Why don't you read it first and then go on the internet to discuss it?

    If it's a lawsuit she needs a lawyer to answer it and defend.

    If it's not a lawsuit she has the option of ignoring it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 10-25-2012 6:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    As noted, seems you'd do yourself a favor if you'd review what information you could before posting.  :)

    "But this week my mother received paperwork (not sure if it is a summons or not) seeking approximately half of the house sale proceeds, claimings (falsely mind you) that the parasite contributed to the upkeep of the home for X number of years and requires compensation... blah blah blah."

    I trust the guy is filing this without an attorney, because if he has an attorney, it's not a very ethical one unless the guy showed him some forged contract in which the sister agreed that he could have X-Y-Z in exchange for 1-2-3.  I'd love to see what the complaint says about the legal basis to which he'd be entitled to such a thing even if he HAD "contributed to the upkeep of the home" ... which any court would consider the equivalent of, uhm, rent/paying for the expenses associated with his having a roof over his head and food, etc.

    It is unclear why he wouldn't file a claim against the estate if the probate case is still open and he wants to pretend your aunt owed him something/they had some agreement (you say "estate essentially dispersed [sic]" but don't say it's closed).  If he wanted to claim to be a creditor of the estate owed dough/having a beneficial ownership interest in the property based on some contract, that would be the correct avenue (but earlier than this). 

    If your "question" is whether the law is on his side, based on facts posted, answer is "of course not."  I don't see a motion to dismiss being too hard for an attorney to navigate, whether or not he filed suit against the proper entity/person.  Esp. he sued your mom as an individual. 

    Me?  I'd spend every dime of the inheritance rather than cough up anything more to this person, given your mom didn't have to give him a cent in the first place (he was nothing more than a tenant at will based on what you've said, and she needn't have given him "significant ... money [and the car]" to move out.  In fact, after this is over, I might even spend money to sue him for malicious prosecution (his civil action) and see how he likes the taste of that.

  • 10-25-2012 7:07 PM In reply to

    • Zerodays
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    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Thanks for the replies.  I would have posted more info, but I am out of state, getting mostly heresay information, and mainly just wanted to get a little internet confidence before I dive into this whole upsetting process.  I think the basis is that he made cash deposits to "joint accounts" to pay for taxes and mortgage payments.  And I'm sure he is claiming she made some verbal promises prior to death.  Neither is true.  He did have a PIN to her checking account, but based on our analysis, he only made withdrawals.

     

    I really don't know if probate is "closed" or not.  The house was sold, accounts were closed, cars signed over, nothing else really other than filing the last year of taxes.  She had a lawyer handling it, and he also negotiated with aforementioned slug.  I've advised her to get a new lawyer to deal with this... and yes, we will all go bankrupt before this guy gets another penny.  I'm suggesting a new lawyer since the probate guy had a previous relationship with the parasite.

    We discussed counter suing too.  What legal specialist would deal with something like that?

  • 10-26-2012 10:37 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Read the stuff first--then repost.

    I'm not sure I'd seek new counsel yet anyway --if the estate is closed it may be moot --and if prior counsel for the estate made a blooper it said prior counsel might have a keen interest to fix/defend against same.

    So far you havedn't posted any logical basis for ex friend to prevail  ---but failure to defend against  what might seem a frivilous action can hand enemy a cheap victory so do NOT snooze.



  • 10-26-2012 12:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Zerodays:
    Everything was left to my mother.

    I'll interpret this to mean that your aunt had a will that left her entire estate to your sister.

     

    Zerodays:
    my mother received paperwork (not sure if it is a summons or not) seeking approximately half of the house sale proceeds, claimings (falsely mind you) that the parasite contributed to the upkeep of the home for X number of years and requires compensation.

    The only basis on which he might be entitled to compensation would be if he had a contract with your aunt.  If he did not have a written contract, proving a verbal contract with a deceased person could prove difficult.

     

    Zerodays:
    I can't imagine he has any case, and with all funds in the estate essentially dispersed, I'm not sure what or who he could sue that could give him any money.

    Was your aunt's estate properly probated pursuant to the laws of her state of residence at the time of her death?  I have to assume it was because you said that your aunt's house was sold.  You didn't say who sold the house or how title was transferred, but it would be difficult (or impossible) to transfer title properly unless probate procedures were followed.

     

    Zerodays:
    is there anything realistically he can collect.

    Difficult to say without knowing precisely what your mother received and the missing information mentioned above.

  • 10-26-2012 12:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question, lawsuit pending

    Zerodays:

    We discussed counter suing too.  What legal specialist would deal with something like that?

    First, until you know there's a lawsuit, any discussion of a "countersuit" is premature.

    Second, it's not clear on what basis any "countersuit" might be filed.  Nothing in your posts to this point suggests any basis for one.

    Third, it's not clear why you think a "legal specialist" might be necessary.  In any event, since the basis for any "countersuit" isn't evident, it's impossible to know what sort of "specialist," if any, might be necessary.

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